Creek snorkeling is one of the most connecting experiences we can have in a river. I get connected to every river and creek I snorkel. But snorkeling also allows us to see the destruction of these amazing places first hand, and that can be disheartening. It was a pretty crappy summer for water quality. It seems that the summer weather norm on the East coast is becoming monsoonal. Lots of rain with lots of muddy runoff. One of my favorite creeks turned shades of unearthly green for all of August. I cancelled more trips than I ran, got frustrated and figured that repeatedly trying to snorkel in the north east was pointless. Bill McKibben was right. We ended nature. The climate is now dictated by us and so too is the new flashy hydrology of streams. I try not to be alarmist. I try to stay optimistic. But I got a little overwhelmed this summer, and gave up trying. When the water cleared enough for a trip, my schedule wasn’t. The last time I was here was on the Summer solstice. Now, five months later, I stand on the banks of Basin Run, ready to explore once again.
This hole was full of fish on that first day of summer. It’s almost empty now. Everything is covered in thick olive fur and leaves swirl in the current. I have learned that this is a normal progression. Streams around here get covered in algal fur right about now every fall. Water flies through an upstream flume and sends a cascade of bubbles into the pool I am exploring. The force of this little creek is impressive, and I have a hard time hanging onto bottom.
I figured I wouldn’t see much this trip. It is getting late and things are hunkering down. But still there is life. A trout darts and hides behind the veil of fizz. A few dace hide behind a large boulder. Caddis fly cases dot most rocks and the algae itself forms a unique stream scape. Even after all the rain and mud, and other stuff that washes into our streams with each rain, still there is life. And where there is life there is hope.
I love Basin Run. Just like I love the Susquehanna, Deer Creek, Stoney run(s) The Delaware. All the rivers I have, and will, snorkel. I get really tired of seeing them negatively impacted. And yet there remains so much to admire. So much hope. It depends on how I look at things. This swim in Basin Run got me back on track, looking at our rivers and streams through a hopeful lens rather than a hopeless one. I will still get connected to the rivers I experience through snorkeling, but hopefully not to a fault